Last week, while visiting the San Francisco Amoeba Music store, standing in the hip-hop aisle gazing at its thousands upon thousands of vinyl and CD titles I found myself drooling in awe. The seemingly endless selection is like an encyclopedia of hip-hop, which is what I mentioned to Luis (the store's hip-hop buyer), who offered to do a quick run-through video tour (above) of Amoeba SF's truly amazing hip-hop section for those who have not recently or ever visited the Haight Street store. This section offers the most comprehensive Bay Area rap selection (including tons of DVD titles) I have ever seen -- thanks in large part to Luis, who really knows and cares about the Bay's homegrown hip-hop flava.
One aisle over from hip-hop is the soul / r&b section and it is damn good, too, with an exhaustive selection of soul from the very latest back to the classics of bygone decades. In that section I ran into Dr. Goldstein of Free Gold Watch (the nearby Haight district store that makes some of Amoeba's T-shirts and was featured on the Amoeblog last week) and knowing his love for both soul and Amoeba I asked if he would do a quick run through tour of the Amoeba SF soul section. He obliged (video below) and made the very good point, especially in these MP3 happy days, about how when you buy a CD or record you are getting an artifact -- not to mention much higher quality audio.
Initially created as "a means for independent labels (with an emphasis on hip hop) and artists to produce their own line of garments and distribute their products to the masses" -- as its mission statement lays out -- the Giant Peach (GP) has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade but has still pretty much stuck to its initial plan of creating a bridge between artists/labels and fans and of exhaustively carrying the clothing lines of popular design artists and collectives, and always with an emphasis on those from the Bay Area.
Currently celebrating its ten year anniversary, the GP has a store within a store this month at TRUE in the Haight (near Amoeba SF), and, I am told, this will expand into October. Last week I stopped by the GP's product-packed East Bay warehouse/offices to talk to Karen about her company and capture on video (above) some of the cool items for sale on its website. I also followed up with a text interview (below) to cover some things we didn't get to in the video version.
Overloaded Ark's opening track, titled "Little Blue Dragon," is a better known by the name of the merry dance it was originally composed for way back in 14th century Naples: the saltarello. It is played in a very fast triple-meter and named after its leading leap-step, in Italian, saltare. Of course, the composer credit for this song goes to the ubiquitous Anoymous who rules the bulk of any Early Music bin selections, but a version of the song, aptly titled "Saltarello," was made famous by that eclectic, neoclassical Australian band better known as Dead Can Dance (and if you've ever been to a Renaissance Faire or a Goth gathering where "dark" world music fits the rotation then I'll bet you a flagon of mead you've heard it before). Another version of the song, performed by Corvus Corax --- an outrageously outfitted German band who champion medieval music and authentic instruments, seems to share the same vein Espvall and Batoh tapped to give their "Little Blue Dragon" life. Espvall and Batoh's take on the Black Death era romp pounds out a feverish pace with traditional instrumentation at the forefront and electrified psychedelic meanderings fleshing out the background. It's really the perfect sort of aural "pants-ing" I felt I needed as a listener expecting to hear an extension of Espvall and Batoh's past works, only to be blown away with their new attitude.
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:
CITY WASTELAND PART 2 12"
Part 2 starts with "MOVE," true-school techno. "DIRTBOMB" has a raw, bluesy house feel, and on the flip are the Detroit influenced "WEIRD DANCER" and the vinyl exclusive "TFF," which delivers intense and acid-like drum layers. Chicago galore!
ADOBE EP 12"
The first cut is downright mysterious...deep stacked chords play with your ears. "SOUTH EAST" follows a Detroit-ish motif as a pan flute pangs the air, keeping the high ends in focus. Slicked out tech house made from the man with a keen sense of what keeps us lost in a groove.
Featurecast GRANDMASTER CAST EP 12" BIBB004
Various INTO BATTLE EP (FEATURECAST) 12" BOMBBAT1
Aldo Vanucci BSTRD BOOTS #9 12" BJX009
Aquasky DEEP FAT FREQUENCIES EP #1 12" PASA051
Dark Phayd-R MADE YOU SHACK UP 7" BP7003
Deadmau5 GHOSTS'N'STUFF 12" MAU5020T
Dre Skull I WANT YOU (BOK BOK RMX) 12" BOKBOK01
Falko Brocksieper ADOBE EP 12" CNTX35
Playdoe FREEZE STEP (STARKEY REMIX) 12" RWINA003
Various BEAT DIMENSIONS VOL.2 #3 12" RH10912C